The Social Business Toolkit (SBT)


This is the first post of a series that introduces the Social Business Toolkit (SBT) and provides examples of how to use it and how to ship around pitfalls. There are many valuable resource out there dealing with the SBT. This series is based on my experiences with the Toolkit.

So, what is the SBT? Short answer: A service wrapper that provides an easy to use API to call Web2.0 services. The main focus is on IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud for Social Business (SC4SB), but it also provides functionality to access other non-IBM services like twitter, facebook or dropbox.

Almost every Web2.0 site offers an API. Today those APIs are based on the REST architecture. To keep it simple: You can call URLs with parameters to GET, POST, PUT or DELETE data. The response will contain either an OK if your operation was successful and no further action is needed or some data that you requested (e.g. user details in case you called a user profile service).

Once you know the URLs and which actions are allowed you can code your application in order to build the URL, add the parameters needed, open a request, send the request, wait for the response, handle the response, deal with the data returned. That could be a lot of coding even when you do not only access one service but many.

Well, here is where the SBT comes into the game! You do not have to take care anymore of the different URLs and how to build the parameters and the request/response stuff. The SBT wraps it all up for you. It comes with a decent Java API and JavaScript API that allows you to call the services with a few lines of code. It even provides fully featured UI controls that XPages developers can use in their applications without having to code the controls themselves.

So, if you are thinking about using data from external data sources or adding data to them, the Social Business Toolkit is your friend. I mentioned earlier in this post that there are many great resources out there about the SBT. To get you started I recommend these:

In my next post I will show you how to get started in XPages. Stay tuned!